Soccer United Fan Council : Ask for my $0.02, get $7.88 instead



One of the many marketing arms of Major League Soccer is a panel called Soccer United Fan Council.  Their purpose can be summed up by this bit of malarkey:

This is an exclusive online community where you can share valuable opinions, ideas, and experiences with Major League Soccer (MLS) to help us better serve you and other fans in the future. Please remember to check your email and this website for new surveys so you can continue to participate in valuable discussions about all things soccer.

As one quarter of the famous Vocal Minority Podcast, it is important to carry an opinion.  Sometimes it is rambly or ill-informed, but some of it is thoughtful and insightful (he says optimistically), however raising my voice is something I am not shy about.  TFC has felt my wrath, but so has GO Transit, the TTC, not to mention a few other customer feedback forms.

Upon discovering its existence, there was only one course of action: subscribe!  Usually it’s minor fluff like “who do you think will win the MLS Cup?” or “Who’s the best new signing out of the following list of ageing stars?”.  But every once in a while, something special comes along and this is one of those times.

In this particular survey, they were asking its participants which leagues do they follow out of English Premier League and LigaMX (the only two other leagues!), following up with questions like “why do you watch it?”, “do you like it better than MLS?”, “if so, why?”.  Further questions were about the designated players regarding their importance to the team, how important are they in this list of factors for your team, even the question asking which country would you prefer your ageing stars to come from.  Un-ironically, the opinion of “do you view MLS as a place for ageing stars?” and “why do you think so?” were postulated.  I stayed late after work to fill this out!

Here’s the first of my two submissions.  First question was:

Is there anything that you don’t like about Major League Soccer?
Please be as specific as possible.

Low.  Hanging.  Fruit.  My response was as follows (formatted for legibility) in a stream of consciousness:

Unbalanced schedule
Don’t take US Open Cup and Voyageurs Cup seriously
The barrier to entry is cash and a new stadium
It seems to push the “stars” of the league, where some of the teams those “stars” play on are lacking talent, making it difficult to watch
Does not honour international breaks
League rewards poor play with draft picks
Reliance on the NCAA as an effective means of development
No real club development of local players
Price of tickets does not match the level of play in front of you
The blackout effects of MLS Live
The cost of MLS Live given that the team you want to watch is never available on there to watch it
The fact that Adidas refuses to make a XXXL shirt and no one has listened to my request for them as I OWN XXXL Adidas shirts from Premier League teams
I don’t like sacrificing the regular season for exhibition games
I don’t like watching meaningless games in the middle of a season
I resent the playoffs a little, as it rewards mediocrity (unlike most of the footballing world) by making it finishing 6th
I don’t like how the players union kind of got a crappy deal.
I don’t like how there can be a player on the pitch that passes the ball to someone who makes over 100% of their salary (that’s insulting to my intelligence)
I don’t like the inconsistency of the disciplinary committee where a player can get clearly rabbit punched without penalty, but a sloppy tackle where no one was injured can result in a suspension.
I don’t like the announced attendances when they’re clearly wrong and inflated (I’m not an idiot, if the 22000 seat stadium is half full, there isn’t 19000).
I don’t like that KickTV took away the goals of the week segment, as it was the only thing on KickTV that I would seek out every week.
I don’t like these subtleties that fans need to be more obedient yet are used in promotional material – you can’t have it both ways
I don’t like the utter joke that is the MLS rulebook – where’s the transparency and YES there should be transparency
I don’t like how the league discourages players from leaving to make more money overseas, yet praise their returns like the prodigal son.
I don’t like the franchises having the word “club” in the name, it devalues what an actual “club” is and clubs have members, which no one other than the money men are actually a part of.
7pm kick-offs on Sundays are dumb when most of the supporters live in suburbia.
I don’t like how MLS is trying to find OTHER things to distract to make fans happy (moar designated players) rather than making fans happy (owners who actively suppress the truth, finding players of skill rather than ageing Brazilians).
I don’t like how no matter how hard MLS tries to pretend otherwise, it’s still a summer camp for ageing footballers (Drogba? Pirlo? Lampard? Kaka? Gerard?)
And I truly resent that Major League Soccer has the audacity to call itself “Major League” anything – who are you fooling?

Otherwise, it’s fine.

The second question was as follows :

Please feel free to leave any additional feedback about this topic.
Please be as specific as possible.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m completely crapping on MLS.  Until something better comes along, this is what we’ve got.  I hope something better comes along, and I’d prefer it be with MLS.  I care about the sport, but many of the factors that I love about following a league, MLS struggles with (balanced schedule) and/or will never deliver on because of that structure (promotion/relegation).  I want MLS to be like Europe and not like NFL.

At least they scrapped the neutral site MLS Cup.  That was an excellent move.

The list was by no means complete, but it is sincere.  Without question, this list has serious gaps but it was posted for a laugh.  For another laugh, let us know what obvious sitters I missed in the comments below.

Author: Mark Hinkley

Mark is a full-time graphic designer, full-time smart ass and full-time logo, stadium and kit nerd. When he isn't writing ridiculous match reports or redesigning logos for his own amusement, he's salivating over the day that promotion and relegation occurs in MLS. You can follow him @kitnerdmark on the twitterz.

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